Japanese wood okimono study of a rat naturalistically modelled standing on its rear haunches and with its head bent slightly down to eat a small bean held in its forepaws, standing on a feather-brush signed with incised characters Hosei 鳳聲, Meiji period 1868-1912.
The Tokyo School artist Mori Hosei 森鳳声 was active between 1900 and 1929, and was a student of Takamura Koun (1852-1934). He worked in wood carvings as well as in metalwork.
A bronze sculpture titled ‘Reclining girl’ is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His work is also listed in the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties for the year 1908 (Meiji 41).
The rat (nezumi 鼠) is Daikoku’s messenger, one of the seven Gods of Good Fortune, and is the first animal of the Oriental Zodiac. It is often shown feasting on chestnuts, rice, turnips and pomegranates, and is symbolic of bounty and abundance.
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